Secure Your Services with Istio: A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting up Istio TLS Connections

Alex Vazquez
4 min readJan 3


Istio TLS configuration is one of the essential features when we enable a Service Mesh. Istio Service Mesh provides so many features to define in a centralized, policy way how transport security, among other characteristics, is handled in the different workloads you have deployed on your Kubernetes cluster.

One of the main advantages of this approach is that you can have your application focus on the business logic they need to implement. These security aspects can be externalized and centralized without necessarily including an additional effort in each application you have deployed. This is especially relevant if you are following a polyglot approach (as you should) across your Kubernetes cluster workloads.

So, this time we’re going to have our applications just handling HTTP traffic for both internal and external, and depending on where we are reaching, we will force that connection to be TLS without the workload needed to be aware of it. So, let’s see how we can enable this Istio TLS configuration

Scenario View

We will use this picture you can see below to keep in mind the concepts and components that will interact as part of the different configurations we will apply to this.

Secure Your Services with Istio: A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting up Istio TLS Connections
  • We will use the ingress gateway to handle all incoming traffic to the Kubernetes cluster and the egress gateway to handle all outcoming traffic from the cluster.
  • We will have a sidecar container deployed in each application to handle the communication from the gateways or the pod-to-pod communication.

To simplify the testing applications, we will use the default sample applications Istio provides, which you can find here.

How to Expose TLS in Istio?

This is the easiest part, as all the incoming communication you will receive from the outside will enter the cluster through the Istio Ingress Gateway, so it is this component the one that…

Alex Vazquez

PSG Senior Architect at TIBCO Software with a focus on Cloud Development, Event Processing and Enterprise Integration

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